Here are two questions posed to Teresa, followed by her insightfully brilliant answers. We can all take her message and example, which is the message of the Church and the essence of the New Evangelization called for by Bl. Pope John Paul II, to heart. Enjoy!
Me: I’m a mother of small children and one of them is a girl, so she will be a teenager one day, and I personally wasn’t a teenager too long ago. But, in my opinion, it feels like the morals of the country have just taken a real steep dive, just in very recent history. Out of everything you’ve presented tonight, what do you think is the greatest threat now, or emerging threat to teenagers in general?
Teresa: I think it’s the over-sexualization of our teens. And I think it is the attitude of this agenda that we have before us with the contraception mandate. The whole idea is to sell sexual license. It’s about two things. It’s not about healthcare. Everybody in this room knows that, but it's about sexual license and it’s about money.
There is big money involved here, especially with Planned Parenthood and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. If you go on Planned Parenthood’s website, you can see some of the things that they’re trying to do to young people. And they want to get kids earlier and earlier and keep them sexually active. Because the more they’re sexually active, the more they will need Planned Parenthood.
|And here's a screenshot from the Planned Parenthood website today, just to give you an idea of what Teresa is talking about. Feeling warm and fuzzy, yet?|
So I would say the biggest threat is the over-sexualization of our teens right now, in addition to the attcks on the Church. It’s so important to start as young as you can to catechize (evangelize, first of all) at home. It’s got to start there. And I mean, really, even if you’re blessed to be with a good parish like this one, or even if your kids are in a good Catholic school, you have to back up what the Church is doing.
It’s so important especially to get them young. I have women writing me and saying that their daughters, who are like 5 and 6 years old, are coming home from kindergarten and first grade and asking, “Mommy am I fat?” and making comments about their bodies. And 'they’re' getting at them younger and younger and younger. Start as young as you can. Or you can do what I would do if I had kids: lock them in the basement. With everything I see, it’s like, “You, are so not going out the door.”
Me: Just as a follow up. What do you see as our greatest strength right now, as a Church. I know we’ve utilized a lot of media, what with EWTN and everything but what do you see as our greatest defense to these new attacks on youth?
Teresa: I think it’s the truth. I think we’ve got to get the truth out there. I mean, we’ve got to get the truth out there as well as all the information about the fallout from the over-sexualization of our culture. We have to get the truth out there about abortion. We have to make sure we are telling people and leading people to new insights when we’re speaking out about these issues and giving them the facts. And even if you’re talking with someone online, whether it's on Facebook or whatever, and you know they are going to be turned off by religion, use some of the facts.
That’s why I wrote Extreme Makeover. It’s got so many different stats in it. Armed with them, you can ask someone, “Okay, well if this is so great why does the Center for Disease Control, say this or why does the World Health Organization, which is associated with the United Nations, saying this* about the birth control pill?" There’s medical science and documentation that what the Church teaches is right and it’s not coming from the Church! Use it! Get it out there!
There’s a blindness out there. Because when you are in sin, as I was, you don’t want to see this stuff. But you have to put it out there and once in a while you are going to get a breakthrough because people are miserable, even if they don’t yet realize it. They are constantly looking, like that old country song, “for love in all the wrong places.” And they keep on looking for the same thing and they keep seeing that it's not answering their questions. So the biggest defense we have in the Church is what the Church gives us: the truth.
A rallying cry if there ever was any – just in time for the Feast of the Annunciation. Buy Extreme Makeover (Ignatius Press, October 2011) and get those facts out there here. The Integrated Catholic Life gives a wonderful book review here.
A heartfelt thanks Teresa Tomeo for permitting her answers to these questions to appear on The Theology of Laundry. JMJ